The popular downtown restaurant, Five, now offers students and patrons a different atmosphere from the night time hot spot in the form of a coffee shop café.
Five Java serves fresh juices, smoothies, coffee and more to customers beginning at 7 a.m. every day. The addition to Five opened on June 13 and general manager Jeremy Hicks said he expects business to pick up even more now that students are back in town.
“Five Java is great for students,” Hicks said. “We offer free WiFi and we recently added several Mac and iPhone chargers for students to use as well.”
In addition to the extensive coffee and smoothie menus, Five Java also offers a lunch menu available at 10:30 a.m. In sticking with the tradition of the original restaurant, five lunch menu options are available during the day.
“Since we decided to offer lunch, business has really picked up,” Hicks said. “It’s a cool place to grab coffee or something off our lunch menu and study or to come and be social and hang out with friends.”
Paige Miller, a frequent visitor of Five Java, said she enjoys having available space to meet with friends without feeling crowded or rushed.
“I like that when you come in, you have a place to sit and you can actually have a conversation without having to just take your coffee and leave,” Miller said.
Miller said Five Java’s location is one of the reasons the coffee shop remains intimate and separated from the often crowded campus restaurants.
“I feel like with [Five Java] being downtown, it’s a little more hidden,” Miller said. “I like that they have repurposed an old downtown building and added something extra.”
Marlena McConville, a junior majoring in geography and employee at Five Java, said she loves the cozy ambiance of the shop.
“I love it at Five Java because it feels like I am hanging out in an old cabin,” McConville said. “Everything offered there is fresh, and it doesn’t feel like your normal corporate coffee shop.”
Hicks said Five hasn’t needed much formal advertising because the experiences of customers usually speak for themselves.
“We use a more word of mouth approach,” Hicks said. “I think minimum advertising is one of the reasons we are popular.”
The restaurant’s downtown location has been great for hosting a variety of patrons, Hicks said.
“We get everyone from students to lawyers, to other business owners downtown,” Hicks said. “We have regulars as well as first-timers every day. We haven’t really had a slow season.”
Hicks said the owners of Five are planning to open several more locations, but each restaurant will be different from the others.
“We’re far from corporate,” Hicks said. “We’re going to have a lot of restaurants, but the idea is for each to have a unique addition, like the Tuscaloosa location’s coffee shop. It makes us different from other restaurant chains.”